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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


MotorSpaceNW crashes Ford Fiesta launch, San Francisco (5)

Be sure to check out the ultra low-grade video I took of my Hotel Room in “New Videos.” It’s the end product of putting a bracelet on my hand that gets me free drinks at a bar where Ken Block is about to reveal his new Ford Fiesta rally car. 

Beforehand we had dinner at the Americano Patio off the main lobby of Hotel Vitale. And cocktails. Being completely virgin to such professional mixers, I waited to see if anyone was paying for their drinks before ordering a nice scotch. It tasted like candy. Better be careful. 

I turned to my left and saw a familiar face. Like when you see someone at a party but can’t remember their name or how you know them. Oh wait it was Ken Block. He was having a beer and talking to a Ford guy. There were Ford guys throughout the crowd, having drinks and talking about this and that, mostly about the Fiesta, cars, their jobs, etc. 

Fast Forward.

Ken Block makes a short speech. He looks dirt tired; it took him a long time to fly back to the states due to the troublesome eruption of Eyjafjallajokul. 

Fast Forward. 

Dessert. Don’t ever try Basil ice cream. It tastes like basil, not ice cream. 

Fast Forward. 

We exit a shuttle just down the street from the hotel for the reveal of the Gymkhana Fiesta. Wait a minute. This is a bar. A bar tender notices my paper Fiesta wristband/drink less hand and asks if I know about the free drinks. I don’t believe him, but after testing the wristband out on several other bar tenders I’m convinced. Steady as she goes. 

Outside the bar the press crowd is buzzing up a storm in front of the Gymkhana Fiesta still hidden beneath a cover… Is that The Pirate or are these drinks free? 

Yes. He’s filming a preliminary video segment with his cameraman. When the camera goes on the pirate goes into character… It’s not a big transition. As it turns out he’s not a pirate, but a guy who’s obsessed with his Chevrolet Nova. Imagine that crossed with a getup that could be mistaken for a pirate and you have his persona*. 

Just as the free drinks are getting boring the girls that were dressed like biker chicks crossed with Hooters girls emerge from the bar. Apparently they were showgirls all along, making their attire much more appropriate. 

The music is getting louder. A swell of people politely forces me out of my front row position. They’re random kids not involved with the press event, equipped with Iphones. 

Fast Forward.

Ken Block gives a speech. Bumpin’ music. The showgirls are ready to pull the blanket off the Fiesta. Iphones shoot above their owners’ heads streaming live video across the Internet. 

Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! The cover comes off and the rally Fiesta looks scary. From Edmunds:

“The 2,425-pound Gymkhana Three Fiesta gets a purpose-built Olsbergs engine "capable of up to 850 brake horsepower, but restricted to 650 hp in order to give Block the torque band he needs to control the car," the automaker noted. The engine is linked to an Olsbergs MSE Maktrak magnesium six-speed paddle-shift sequential transmission. Ford said the car sprints from zero to 60 mph in 2 seconds.” (1)

Cameras swarm the Fiesta, kids stream video, jockeying for position. The Pirate grabs Ken Block and interviews him intensely. Ken looks exhausted but seems to enjoy himself more than a standard interview. 

I’m tired too and jump the next shuttle back to the hotel. In my luxurious sweet, amongst the tattered remains of the mini bar is the schedule:

8:30-8:45am. Depart for Autocross

8:45-10:30am. Competitive activities at Candlestick Park

Stay tuned for one more. 

*I’ve been completely unable to find The Pirate on the Internet, although I believe he may have been from FuelTv. Catch him if you can. 

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Fiesta Movement: 




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